ASK THE PRO – from Mike Holmes magazine

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Posted on Ask Dave Building Restoration Resources & Tips

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A reader wrote in to Holmes Magazine and asked: I’ve heard that oil paint can also act as a vapour barrier and on the wrong wall assembly it could be a disastrous choice? We just moved into a new home and all the walls are pointed with oil, what wall assemblies are dangerous? What should we do?

The magazine published Ken's response:

Thanks for the question. This is really more of a building envelope question than a painting question.

It is true that the oil-based (alkyd resin) paints are less permeable than conventional latex paints. Up until the 1970s, most homes had alkyd paints on the walls.

This shouldn't be a problem. There will be many other through-wall areas for moisture and air to migrate particularly in homes of this age. If your home is newer, I still doubt it is a hazard. Typical construction has a poly vapour barrier below the gyproc (drywall) and so making the drywall layer less impervious to air and moisture migration shouldn't cause additional problems.

Ken Ewert
Remdal Painting & Restoration Inc